Last Updated on: 17th November 2023, 02:27 pm
Vaping is considered less toxic to humans than smoking tobacco products. However, vaping leaves pet parrots exposed to chemicals and toxins that adversely affect the respiratory system.
This begs the question: does vaping hurt birds, and is vaping around pet birds bad?
Parrots have lungs and air sacs, so vaping is responsible for respiratory distress. The chemicals in the vapor can also cause skin infections, feather issues, and nicotine infections.
Long-term exposure to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices can poison and kill a parrot.
Most e-liquids contain nicotine, but some products are nicotine-free. These liquids still contain harmful chemicals that pose a significant avian health risk.
Is Vaping Bad for Parrots?
While vaping appears to be a healthier alternative to smoking, it’s not risk-free.
Vapers place a flavored liquid containing nicotine into the chamber of a vaping device, like an e-cigarette, where the battery heats it to produce a colorless vapor.
There are two types of e-liquids available:
- With nicotine.
- Without nicotine.
E-liquids containing 0% nicotine are slightly safer but contain harmful toxins.
As vaping toxicity is relatively new, scientists are still assessing the effects. We know that vape juices contain harmful chemicals to birds because the fumes can be inhaled, even from a distance.
The vapor can result in residue on the cage, food bowl, and toys, leaving chemicals to ingest.
E-liquids contain the following chemicals:
- Ultrafine particles, which are inhaled deep into the lungs.
- Flavorings, like diacetyl.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Heavy metals, including lead, nickel, and tin.
If you vape around parrots or want to know how it affects them, here are the dangers:
Parrots have lungs and air sacs, which are sensitive to irritants, toxins, and pollutants.
The vapor produced by e-cigarettes and other vaping devices lingers in the air long after you’ve used them, meaning that birds can inhale them several hours afterward.
Parrots have respiratory systems that suffer from inhaling second-hand vaping mist. As their air sacs are spread throughout the body, parrots pass every breath of air through them twice.
Unfortunately, this means parrots inhale more toxins than humans. The nicotine in the vaping aerosol mist affects them sooner and with wide-ranging health consequences.
Many e-liquids contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) describes how occupational exposure to diacetyl is associated with severe respiratory impairment.
The skin and feathers absorb nicotine, resulting in infections. Similarly, if a bird plucked its feathers and has bare patches of skin, it risks developing dermatitis.
Even vape mist that doesn’t contain nicotine is a problem, as chemical exposure can cause sores. If a parrot digs at these wounds, they can become infected. Also, bacteria can enter broken skin.
According to the Department of Health for New York State, approximately 23.3% of adults smoke.
Studies suggest that 98% of New York pigeons are addicted to nicotine, which researchers discovered through blood samples and stool tests. Parrots can also become addicted to nicotine.
The symptoms of nicotine addiction in pet birds include:
- Weight loss.
- Appetite loss.
- Dingy appearance.
- Bad smell.
- Hoarse vocalizations.
- Anti-social tendencies.
Second-hand vape mist is responsible for nicotine addictions, which get into the respiratory tract through the traveling vapor.
Over time, parrots crave nicotine, displaying withdrawal symptoms. You’ll observe behavioral problems during this time, and the immune system may be compromised.
Choosing nicotine-free e-liquids prevents addiction, but other harmful chemicals remain.
Parrots exposed to nicotine and other chemicals, whether via the vapor or dirty fingers, develop dull, greasy feathers that remain dirty.
While the effects may be slower with vaping devices than cigarettes, the nicotine will settle on the parrot’s plumage, affecting feather quality.
Another side effect of vaping is that parrots will preen themselves excessively and pluck their feathers to remove toxins, ingesting them during this process.
This leads to digestive malfunction and signs of nervousness, effectively poisoning the bird.
If a parrot gets hold of a hot vaping battery, the alkaline can cause burns. This is more likely if you let a parrot out of its cage but leave the vaping device somewhere it can be reached.
Parrots are curious creatures who enjoy exploring unfamiliar objects with their beaks, making e-cigarettes and vaping devices a threat to their safety.
Is Vaping Poisonous to Parrots?
While more studies are needed to understand the effects of vaping around parrots, cheaper e-liquids contain harmful chemicals, such as:
- Antifreeze components.
- Pharmaceutical drugs.
The National Academy of Sciences found that e-liquid flavors, like coffee, tea, and chocolate, contain caffeine, which is toxic. Parrots would have to be frequently exposed to them to endure the ill effects.
Above all else, second-hand smoke is dangerous because it’s invisible and colorless.
The symptoms of second-hand smoke inhalation include the following:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Feather plucking.
- Loss of appetite.
- Refusal to drink water.
- Poor feather quality.
- Visible sores.
Evidence suggests that vapes and e-cigarettes may be bad for parrots over time. We can assume that smaller birds are most at risk, so vape away from parrots by using them outdoors.
Also, wash your hands before handling a pet parrot to remove chemical residue from the hands.
Does Vaping Kill Parakeets?
Vaping around parakeets is almost as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. Also, the smaller the birds, the more vulnerable their respiratory system is to the toxic chemicals in the aerosol mist.
Small parrot species, like budgies, are more at risk from the vapor and toxins. While they may not die from the vapor immediately, long-term exposure will reduce their life expectancy.
Don’t use a vaping device or e-cigarette around parrots. Second-hand smoke, even from vaping, damages the body and respiratory system, causing long-term health problems.